Celebrated for his meticulous and painstaking use of chalk and marker pens, Dong Dawei explores the potential of everyday mark-making materials. Using varied methods and techniques he produces colourful large scale works made with absolute precision. The by-products of his processes - swathes of multi-coloured chalk dust residue - are superfluous detritus but one which Dong conserves under the works. The powdery chalk dust as a trace of the artist’s labour represents his championing of the value of the materials and the physical processes they undergo. Dong creates works in situ at exhibition spaces, so these traces of the artist, a performative residue, enable the viewer to contemplate both the action and presence of the artist as well as the temporal nature of his practice. Dong Dawei’s bodily movements can also be recognised as the works shift from being images on a wall into installations that include the accumulation of dust. External factors such as airflow and the interaction of the viewer mean that the dust disperses and circulates, adding to the immersive experience of an installation.
His marker pen works originate from contemplating an accidental stain he made whilst using permanent marker ink: he realised that the staining itself had been disregarded by art historians as a technique of picture-making and so paid close attention to the effects and the way stains permeate over time. This has become central to Dong’s visual language making his work immediately identifiable; his distinct methodology, the physicality of his practice, the in-depth reflection on process and its ‘mistakes’ are key to his unique relationship between the finished result and the supporting instruments and material techniques, engendering reflections on the possibilities of the superfluous and the neglected.
Dong Dawei was born in 1981 in Dalian China. He graduated from LuXun Academy of Fine Arts and the École nationale supérieure d'art de Bourges France, in 2011 lives and works in Beijing. His works are widely exhibited in national and international art institutions, such as CAFA Art Museum, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Taikang Space in Beijing, Moscow Museum of Modern Art and L'Hospice Saint-Roch Issoudun.